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Alaska Fallen Firefighters and 9/11 Memorial


Governor Sean Parnell
September 11, 2011

Good Afternoon. Thank you, Chief Goodrich, gathered officers, elected officials.

Firefighters, family, friends: It is good to stand together again, to remember, to honor, and to heal.

We remember that day like yesterday. And yet, we wish we didn't have to. For on 911, we saw the face of evil and the worst of man.

We remember the fear, and deep sadness, and grief.

And, we remember seeing the best of America, from individual acts of heroism to inspiring moments of collective courage.

Yesterday, like a number of you, I watched a broadcast from Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where former presidents and others dedicated a memorial and recounted the heroic efforts of passengers on Flight 93.

President Bush recounted how our fellow citizens defied their captors by taking a vote and taking action against the hijackers in the cockpit. President Clinton said that in doing so, these Americans gave us an incalculable gift-saving many more lives.

Then, there were the first responders on the scene at the twin towers and at the Pentagon. In New York City, over 400 emergency workers were killed responding to the attacks. Firefighters, police officers, EMTs and paramedics all perished trying to rescue over 2,600 people still trapped in the towers.

Then, there were, and are, our military members and their families, who gave and continue to give so much in 911's aftermath.

Though 10 years have passed, we remember and honor these ordinary Americans who, when called, selflessly and courageously gave all, accomplishing the extraordinary.

And, we want to remember, honor, and to say thank you to those emergency responders and military personnel who give of themselves today that we might remain safe and free.

To our firefighters, police officers, emergency medical personnel of all kinds; to our military -- whether active duty, National Guard, or reservists; to every person who gets called out first in the face of disaster and tragedy: We say "thank you." Thank you for your courage. Thank you for selflessly serving us.

After remembering and honoring comes healing. Time alone never really heals all wounds, but the love and caring of others brings a measure. And Americans started from day one resolved to make it through this together. We came together in our homes and neighborhoods.

On the evening of September 11, 2001, our family lived in Anchorage and we gathered our family together on the porch of a neighbor, along with the families from virtually every other house on the block. We lit candles together, shared our concerns together, read Scripture and prayed together, and made a list of everyone's phone numbers so we could better look after each other in the days ahead.

And, we came together as a nation. Do you remember that photograph of three firefighters raising the American flag over the rubble of the twin towers in New York City? Lives may have been destroyed, buildings and planes downed, but those firefighters let everyone know that the American spirit would rise up and live again.

And now, that remains to us.

It is up to us to make our lives count, because these thousands-and many more ahead of them-gave us their very lives, that incalculable gift.

Like them, we renew our pledge to serve a cause larger than ourselves. To selflessly give all that is required, that freedom be preserved.

For those whom we've lost, and for those who still serve us, we owe nothing less.

May God Bless You.

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